Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte apologised to referee Neil Swarbrick and fourth official Lee Mason after he was sent off during Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Swansea.
Conte was dismissed from the touchline for the first time in his Chelsea career by Swarbrick moments before half-time after furiously protesting the award of a Swansea goal kick and questioning the visitors for time wasting.
The Italian was seen shouting in Mason’s face as he took his frustrations out on the fourth official after a goal kick was awarded to the visitors despite the ball appearing to touch Swansea’s Alfie Mawson last before going behind.
Conte initially positioned himself just two places above the dugout before being instructed to go further up into the stands further away from the Chelsea bench.
‘It’s right to apologise for what happened during the game,’ Conte said. ‘During the game, in the first half, I saw that Swansea were wasting time. I said this a few times to the fourth official.
‘At the same time I didn’t see something change. I was frustrated for this situation. I tried to tell again, but then the referee took this decision.
‘I apologise for this. I was frustrated. For sure I made a mistake. During the game I suffer. With my players I suffer. It’s a pity.’
The Football Association will await Swarbrick’s report before determining if additional disciplinary action against Conte is necessary, but it appears unlikely after the officials accepted his apology.
Conte watched the second half in the dressing room, but still in his animated way.
‘I suffered in the same way,’ he added. ‘To watch the game on the video (screen) and then to not have the possibility to communicate with your players. It’s very strange. It’s very tough for me.’
Chelsea remain 11 points behind leaders Manchester City after labouring to victory against the Swans through Antonio Rudiger’s first league goal.
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